The public is largely focused on military matters in the Middle East and our involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan. What many Americans haven’t noticed is the quite build-up of military power in Asia. Countries like China, India, South Korea, and Japan are building up high tech arsenals both on land and at sea.

Obviously, the U.S. is directly responsible for the strength of Japan, South Korea, and to some degree India. These countries are strong allies and military parters in the region and don’t represent a threat to the United States.

The country that the U.S. should be concerned about is China. The Chinese are quietly amassing an arsenal of high-tech weapons specifically to counter the U.S.

An Op-Ed in this morning’s New York Times really highlights the military build-up in China. Robert D. Kaplan writes,

Then there is China, whose production and acquisition of submarines is now five times that of America’s. Many military analysts feel it is mounting a quantitative advantage in naval technology that could erode our qualitative one. Yet the Chinese have been buying smart rather than across the board.

In addition to submarines, Beijing has focused on naval mines, ballistic missiles that can hit moving objects at sea, and technology that blocks G.P.S. satellites. The goal is “sea denial”: dissuading American carrier strike groups from closing in on the Asian mainland wherever and whenever we like. Such dissuasion is the subtle, high-tech end of military asymmetry, as opposed to the crude, low-tech end that we’ve seen with homemade bombs in Iraq. Whether or not China ever has a motive to challenge America, it will increasingly have the capacity to do so.

I think Kaplan is right on with his assessments. We must continue to pay special attention to what is happening in the Middle East and keep up the pressure on Al Qaeda, but we must also keep a watchful eye on what some of our less bellicose ‘friends’ in other parts of the world are doing.

-Chris Jones
The Hot Joints

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